Parents' Guide to

Tiger Cruise

By Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Disney drama tackles Navy life and 9/11.

Movie NR 2004 88 minutes
Tiger Cruise Poster Image

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In a role that very much plays to her strengths, Panettiere is a likable lead in this Disney family drama. Throughout the course of Tiger Cruise, she moves from petulant teen to protective big sister to determined group leader naturally, and has strong chemistry with the other young actors. Scenes between Panettiere's Maddie and friends Tina and Anthony have a warm sense of mischief and fun, though an impromptu musical interlude in the kitchen feels a little forced and out of place in a film that is, for the most part, relatively realistic. Pullman's naval commander strikes a good balance between strictness and kindness -- always punctuated with a heroic glow.

The mirroring between the commander's duty onboard the ship and Maddie's role among the civilians is handled with some subtlety and nuance. And the stories that emerge from other passengers onboard go some way to exploring the affects of 9/11 across the country, without going into detail that could scare or upset younger viewers. The patriotism feels a little heavy handed at times, particularly toward the end of the movie, with plenty of talk about duty and protecting the country, and a wistful scene involving the unveiling of an enormous U.S. flag. But overall, Tiger Cruise is an enjoyable family drama that takes on a serious topic with mixed results, but plenty of heart.

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